Researchers, policy makers convene to tackle plant diseases in the global market

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—More than 1,800 scientists from around the world will gather at the 2011 American Phytopathological Society‘s (APS) International Plant Protection Congress (IPPC) Joint Meeting from August 6 to 10 at the Hawaii Convention Center. The meeting will cover ground-breaking research on the spread of insects, weeds, and pathogens through global commercial trade, as well as tropical forest pathology and maintaining bio-security for crop production.

The movement of insects, weeds, and pathogens around the world is having a profound impact on agriculture and natural resources. As trade opportunities grow, so does the possibility of introducing alien pests, which can threaten indigenous species unable to defend against such threats.

Plant pathologists—scientists who study plant diseases—have identified these issues and are searching for methods to combat invasive pests and species.

Among those presenting at the meeting are Thomas Harrington, Iowa State University, and James Steadman, University of Nebraska, who will examine aspects of international protocols and efforts to develop better public policies. Roy Masamdu, SPC Land Resources Division, Fiji Islands, and Trevor Jackson, Lincoln Research Centre, New Zealand, will look at biological control of insect pests, plant pathogens, and invasive weeds specific to the Pacific Islands with the goal of reducing the impact of pesticides.

Other meeting highlights will include the discussion of:

* The management of diseases in tropical settings that threaten the health and survival of specific species of trees.

* The benefits of using biotechnology to provide a sustainable supply of food through the development of disease resistance traits in crop plants, including the transgenic papaya.

In addition, the meeting’s plenary session will feature speakers who have a global perspective on changes in plant health and the challenges of feeding a growing population. Speakers include Roger Beachy, former director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Elske van de Fliert, Center for Communication and Social Change at University of Queensland; Richard Tapia, Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, Rice University; and Robert Zeigler, International Rice Research Institute.

“We are proud to welcome the APS-IPPC Joint Meeting to the Hawai‘i Convention Center,” said Joe Davis, SMG general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center.“ The research presented at this meeting will greatly enhance the understanding of plant sciences and agriculture around the world.”

APS is a nonprofit professional, scientific organization dedicated to the study and control of plant diseases. The APS Annual Meeting is the premier venue for plant scientists from around the world to share information and disseminate research. The IAPPS ensures production of sufficient quality of food, feed, and fiber for a growing population and advocates implementation of sustainable plant health management strategies.

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